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The year-long program at West Virginia Northern Community College that targeted student mental health issues has been expanded with the addition of several more service providers promising timely assistance.
For the upcoming 2016-17 academic year at Northern, Kevin Serig, student disabilities counselor, has been awarded a renewal of the one-year grant from the WVNCC Foundation to assist students seeking help with mental health and wellness.
In reviewing the program after one year of implementation, Serig said he concluded students needed a wider variety of services and options for service providers. Thus Serig began finding and speaking with additional mental health providers. Those providers, he said, include OVMC/Hillcrest, Crittenton Services, ParkValley Behavioral, Northwood Health Systems, Southeast Inc., as well as many single providers.
Any WVNCC student can be referred to Serig by faculty, administration or staff for assessment and referral. In addition, the Academic Support Center at Northern has purchased mental health software from Mindkare that will allow anyone with access to the WVNCC website to use the new diagnostic resource. The software, to be available in the fall semester, assists with identifying mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, substance abuse and/or personality disorders. If a mental health concern is identified, links to local service providers are automated.
In his position, Serig explained he has spoken with many students about their mental health concerns and said he found that about 1 in 4 college students suffer from serious mental health distress. Therefore, he wrote an initial grant to support mental health treatment for WVNCC students. Since then Serig said he has met with more than 40 students regarding their mental health concerns.